The Mission: Repentance and Forgiveness

I recently watched “The Mission” again. It’s based on the tragic story of the Jesuit mission settlements in Paraguay in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here is an unforgettable scene depicting repentance and forgiveness.

Some background to the scene. The repentant sinner is Rodrigo Mendoza, a Spanish adventurer played by Robert De Niro. He has enslaved Indians and killed his brother in a duel. Now he wants forgiveness. As a sign of his repentance, he has dragged his heavy armor in a bag up a mountain. Awaiting him at the top are the Indians who he has enslaved. If you can’t see the video, click here.

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. the Mission is one of my favorite movies of all time, though the hierarchy of the Church in the Bishop, etc is very sad and disturbingly without compassion. this is a great scene as is the end. The reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is soooo moving i cry each time.

  2. My sister has just communicated with me via email and confronted me with a sin I committed against her 35 years ago. I don’t remember it. That I don’t remember it makes me both sad (because my sin obviously hurt my sister so deeply) AND feel a sense of the tremendous and blessed assurance of God’s mercy in my life.
    My sister is calling me this afternoon and we will talk for the first time since her email. My heart is broken with repentance and I desire nothing more than to see her receive all the healing our Father has for her.
    I know my reading this post and seeing the film clip today was not an accident. Father knew of my desperate need long before I knew of it and He provided for it!! If that isn’t AMAZING GRACE I don’t know what is.
    Thank you for this post and for your prayers.

  3. What a beautiful, touching scene! Adventurer Mendoza climbs all the way up the mountain with such a heavy load of enslaving the Indians and killing his brother symbolized by the bag of armor. The Indians could have exercised their “right” to kill him, but instead they cut away his heavy load and throw it away so he can never carry it again! His tears show his true repentance but the Indians just seem happy that he is sorry and set them free. In the process Mendoza is freed too 🙂


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